Friday, February 19, 2010

The Country House Courtship by Linore Rose Burkard

The Country House Courtship
by Linore Rose Burkard
Harvest House Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-7369-2799-4

ABOUT THE BOOK

Beatrice, sister of the heroine in The House in Grosvenor Square, is intent upon landing as wealthy a husband as her sister managed. Yet her youthful heart is about to encounter life lessons that will leave her re-aligning priorities and re-considering the individual upon whom she can depend and love.

MY REVIEW

As always, I love Linore's writing! She brings regency to life! Getting to know Beatrice better was so much fun. Linore's writing seemed different this time for some reason. As I read, I thought there were more parenthetical phrases throughout the whole story. I don't remember that in the previous two novels so it was an adjustment. I'll have to go back and look.

Beatrice has become a young lady, at 17 years old. Visiting with her mom at Aspindon, she desires to have her Coming Out in London. Thankfully, those around her can see a bit of her immaturity still and try to disuade her that line of thinking.

Ariana and Mr. Mornay now have 2 children and at the moment a house full of guests. They have come to learn that their curate will be vacated and are in search of a new man to fill the spot. In comes none other than Mr. O'Brien, the man who stole a kiss from Ariana on her wedding day! Mornay is obliged to let Mr. O'Brien stay with them, but maybe that could be a God send.

Beatrice is hoping to marry into a rich family just as her sister did and when Mr. Barton and his sister lease the Manor next to the Mornays, she believes she may have found her future. Mr. Barton seems to have the same line of thought. Will they be a match or will Mr. O'Brien be smitten with another Forsythe daughter?

Linore has several wonderful life lessons in this story, and each gave me pause as I read them. I don't always reflect as I'm reading, but hers struck me very personally. I like when I can connect with a character and what they are going through. Sometimes their realizations or reflections are exactly what I need and it in turn helps me!


Q & A FROM HARVEST HOUSE PUBLISHERS

Please tell us a little about yourself and your journey as a writer.

I often found myself writing since I was very young, from at least the age of nine. (I wrote my first book, chapter breaks and all, using an idea from a book I had read and loved—My Side of the Mountain.) In my teens I was drawn heavily into poetry and short stories, but even in college I never thought of myself as being able to write in a commercially viable sense. But I couldn’t stop writing completely, even when I was determined not to give it another thought, or during my busiest seasons! Now and then I would pray about it, and I even felt the Lord wanted me to keep my focus on my family, so my writing was relegated to when I could squeeze it in, late at night, usually. But after years of that, God has been wonderful in letting me know that writing is, indeed, a calling from Him on my life.

Will you discuss the ways our society is both similar and different from the society Ariana Forsythe found herself in?

Ariana lived in a very different world, no mistake about that, but people during the Regency dealt with the same needs and fears and hopes and dreams that we all share to this day. People’s lives were ruled by their birth, their social class, whereas we live in a land where anyone, theoretically, can become a millionaire. While we may worry about nuclear war, they had the same feeling of dread about a possible invasion by Napoleon. So, even though times have changed, the human condition hasn’t.

As a romance author, I look at the way young men and women have always wanted to find that “right” person, and how this was the same for Regencians as much as for us. (Their standards of the right person may have been different, however.) Also, back then, the celebrities were the landed classes, particularly the nobility. Nowadays, we make celebrities of those who share that dreamy lifestyle that eludes most of us. In other words, our celebrities are still the ones who seem far above us in the way they live, out of our league, and who appear to enjoy a lifestyle most people want. It’s eerily similar. It has nothing to do with good character or merit, in that sense, and it didn’t then, either.

Have you always been interested in Regency literature?

I have been for a long time, but in my youth I wasn’t really acquainted with it. I always thought I would write about Marie Antoinette, though, who lived only a little earlier. I read a biography about her at a very young age and was immensely affected. So, I guess that was an early indication that I like historical settings.

Why do you think people are so fascinated with the Regency period in general?

For one thing, it was unique—and brief. The actual Regency lasted only nine short years, from 1811–1820. High society was sort of rebounding after a long reign of a conservative monarch (George III), taking full advantage of the “new order” to flex its rebellious muscles. The Regent himself led the way. Then, too, costume and manners were so particular during this period, and such fun to read about. The lives of the rich were extravagant, and there was a great deal of elegance, and balls, and all sorts of things that are descriptive and rich. Lots of fun stuff. Lots of excellent fodder for romance authors, I might add!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Publishers Weekly acclaimed the work of Burkard in its review of The House in Grosvenor Square, saying, "Ms. Burkard's command of period detail is impressive..On the whole, it's a tasty confection."

Burkard, a fan of classic romances and graduate of City University of New York, began writing stories when she couldn't find true Regency romance within the inspirational fiction category. "I knew that many women like me want stories that are historically authentic and offer glimpses of God's involvement in our lives," she says.

Raised in New York, Burkard now lives with her husband and five children in a town full of antique stores and gift shops in southwestern Ohio. To learn more about her, visit http://www.linoreburkard.com/.

I'd like to thank Rebeca Seitz at Glass Road PR for my copy of The Country House Courtship!

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